The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 10, 1995 - 5
Ballpark begs you
to give it a chance
*y Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Baseball Writer
A senior - who will be identified as "Fletch" - walked down to Fisher
Stadium Saturday to see what he had been missing. He had been at Michigan
for four years, but had never been to a Wolverine baseball game.
That's a shame.
Like thousands of students at the University, Fletch had played Little League
baseball. He had loved the game at one time, but then it drifted away from him.
Schoolwork, activities and jobs don't leave much time for Sunday after-
noons at a ballgame. For college students leading fast-paced, ultra-stressed
Eves, baseball is too dormant, too passive, too slow.
Football, basketball and hockey are the draws. They're fast. They have
action. They're flashy.
Baseball is lazy, people say. But as Fletch stood there, watching Michigan
battle back to win 10-9 over Penn State, he couldn't help but get excited. He
couldn't help but remember his youth.
He rattled off story after story about the "good old days." His eyes opened
wide and the tales flowed. Memory after memory emerged and plans for
summer softball started forming.
Only baseball can do that. You can't reminisce while watching Mike
ruble streak down the right side at a Michigan hockey game. You can't
member your childhood while Maceo Baston executes a thunderous jam at
Crisler Arena. You can't talk while the crowd erupts after a Tshimanga
Hockey, basketball and football are too loud. They're too fast. Fletch
realized this too late.
Baseball is the perfect spring college sport. Fans' aggressions can be let
loose during the fall and winter. Baseball allows students to mellow and at the
same time enjoy the thrills of 90-mile-per-hour fastballs, split-second fielding
decisions and lightning-quick batting strokes.
For seniors, baseball encourages memories. It provides a time to look back
an college careers, while still participating in them.
For those who want action, Michigan baseball has its stars too. If you've
never seen Brian Simmons or Scott Weaver hit one in the gap, Scott Niemiec
gun down a would-be base stealer or Matt Ferullo pitch a one-hitter, you
haven't experienced Wolverine athletics.
For a student body that prides itself on having the opportunity to experience
many things, the empty stands at Fisher Stadium shout hypocrisy. The same
students that go home to brag about Michigan sports are the same that only
support revenue teams.
Fletch came down to the ballpark for what he thought would be his first and
st time. But he left wishing he could come back.
It's not too late for Fletch or for you. Michigan plays two games at 1 p.m.
today against Penn State. Go and enjoy. Go and see what you've been missing.
If you don't, what a shame it will be.
Michigan's Rodney Goble currently leads the Wolverines in runs scored with 28.
Van Oeveren struggles at short
By Ravi Gopal
Daily Baseball Writer
After being named Michigan's
MVP and top defensive player a year
ago, Wolverine shortstop Ryan Van
Oeveren has had a slow start to the
1995 campaign. His average has hov-
ered in the low .200s for the entire
season. Over the weekend, however,
Van Oeveren went three-for-seven
and raised his average 17 points to
.242. He also had three RBI and scored
two runs in the doubleheader.
His fielding totals are also lagging
behind his pace of 1994. Van Oeveren
has already committed 10 errors after
making only nine all of last year.
"Earlier this season, I was kind of
pressing," Van Oeveren said. "There
was (much) pressure (on me)."
Van Oeveren's struggles seem to
have had a significant impact on the
team, particularly in terms of field-
ing. He anchored a strong Michigan
defense last season, covering his turf
like a blanket. At one point, he had a
28-game errorless streak. This year,
the defense was supposed to be just as
good, if not better. But the Wolver-
ines are struggling in that department,
and Van Oeveren's problems have
had something to do with it.
"I started getting upset and sticking
my head in the dirt, and I think other
players saw it and maybe it affected
them," the senior from Grandville said.
TURNAROUND?: The Wolverines'
dramatic 10-9 victory Saturday seems
to have helped them more than in just
the win-loss standings.
First baseman Mike Muir's two-
out, two-run double drove in the win-
ning runs, but Muir wouldn't have
had a chance if catcher Scott Niemiec
hadn't delivered with one out in the
bottom of the seventh. Both players
delivered big hits in the clutch.
"It shows the character of our
team," Muir said of his team's come-
back. "Hopefully, we can use this
game to turn our season around."
Lately, close games have been the
norm for Michigan. Four of the Wol-
verines' past six games have been
decided by a run.
BOMBED: In Saturday's second
game, both starting pitchers were
mauled by the opponent. Michigan's
Brian Steinbach lasted one inning,
giving up four earned runs and three
walks. The disaster was somewhat
unexpected, as he entered the contest
with a 1.69 earned-run average in
conference play. His conference ERA
ballooned to 4.63.
But Steinbach's performance was
stellar compared to his Penn State
counterpart, Nathan Bump. Bump
was knocked out of the game after
just one-third of an inning. He surren-
dered two earned runs and yielding
"Penn State pushed us, and we
stuck with them." Van Oeveren said.
FIELD OF HORRORS: In their two
game set, the Wolverines made six
errors. Two of Penn State's runs in
yesterday's second game were un-
In their past four Big Ten con-
tests, the Wolverines have commit-
ted 10 errors - this from a team that
touts its defense as one of its strong
"It's supposed to be (a strength),"
Van Oeveren said, laughing. "(Our
problems) are not because of a lack of
Other players expressed faith in
their teams' defensive capabilities.
"I just see it getting better,"
pitcher Matt Ferullo said. "The
more we keep playing, the better the
defense will be."
RECOVERY? NOT REALLY: Enter-
ing the weekend, the Lions had won
11 of their past 17 games. In light of
the fact that Penn State started the
season 1-13, its mid season recovery
is all the more impressive.
However, one factor that might
have helped cause the Lions' rough
start was their murderous early-sea-
Penn State started the season off
playing top-notch Southern compe-
tition, including Richmond, Old
Dominion, Alabama and Auburn.
Continued from page 1
couple of guys to step up," Hesse
On the other side of the field,
Penn State starter Nathan Bump sat
down early. Bump, a freshman,
lasted just one third of an inning,
giving up three runs (two earned) on
just one hit. He walked two batters
In Saturday's first game, Michi-
gan fell behind, 1-0, and 5-3, but
nearly pulled out a victory in the
bottom of the seventh.
The Wolverines' rally began as
Ryan Van Oeveren singled to knock
Penn State starter, Matt Weimer,
from the game. Lion reliever Jeff
Emerich came on and struck out
Michigan slugger Brian Simmons
before surrendering consecutive
walks to Weaver and Chapman.
The next batter, third baseman
Kelly Dransfeldt, belted a shot to
deep left-center, but centerfielder
Kevin Billotte made a spectacular
backhanded catch, extinguishing the
Wolverines' last chance.
Emerich earned his fourth save
of the year when he got leftfielder
Sean Coston to fly out to right to
end the game.
Michigan was able to take a 3-1
lead in the fourth thanks to back-to-
back homers by Goble and short-
stop Ryan Van Oeveren.
The Lions then rallied for three
in the top of the sixth off loser Matt
With runners on the corners, third
baseman Ray Werner smacked a
single up the middle, driving in both
runs. It proved to be the game-win-
ning hit. Penn State then got an
insurance run when centerfielder
Kevin Billotte singled to left, scor-
In the opener, the Lions struck
first, taking a 1-0 lead in the second.
Following a Phil Bertolotti single to
right and a Shawn Reese double to
left, second baseman Adam Beers
scored on a fielder's-choice.
For the Wolverines, Van Oeveren
was the hitting star in the first game,
going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run
scored. Goble went 1-for-4 with two
RBI and a run scored.
Yesterday's doubleheader was
The games are scheduled to be
made up today at Fisher Stadium,
with the opener slated to begin at 1
Penn State 010 0130--581
IMichigan 000 300 1- 4 6 3
W - Weimer, L - Ferullo;
LOB -PSU 7, UM 9; 28-Reese
(PSU), Goble (UM), Van Oeveren
(UM), Bochna (UM); SH - Beers
SF - Dransfeldt (UM); WP -
Weimer; E - Beers (PSU), Van
Oeveren (UM), Beermann (UM),
Coston (UM); HBP - Dacostino
(PSU)by Ferullo, Coston (UM) by
Penn State 410 201 01-9102
Michigan 250 200 22 -10 12 3
W - Arvei, L - Rooney;
DP - PSU 1, UM 2; LOB-PSU
7, UM 8; 2B8- Dacostino (PSU),
Sadlowski (PSU), Bochna (PSU)
Van Oeveren (UM), Muir (UM); HR
- Bochna (PSU); SB - Werner
(PSU), Bochna (PSU); SH - Van
Oeveren; SF - Van Oeveren (UM)
WP - Emerich (PSU), Billek (PSU),
Steinbach (UM); E - Bochna
(PSU), Ryder (PSU), Dransfeldt (UM),
Van Oeveren (UM), Wade (UM).
Michigan player statistics (through Saturday's games)
Jasen Livingston (C)
Scott Weaver (OF)
Brian Simmons (OF)
Chad Chapman (IB)
Rodney Goble (OF)
Mike Muir (18)
Sean Coston (OF)
Ryan Van Oeveren (SS)
Kelly Dransfeldt (38)
Matt Fleury (C)
Kirk Beerman (28)
Andy Wade (IF)
Scott Niemiec (C)
Chuck Winters (P)
Derek Besco (P)
Junior John Arvai was the winning pitcher in Michigan's 10-9 triumph over
Penn State Saturday.
nimmiraa Wolverines shape up '
bUt I5MLNU IWtUUK
well in Big Ten standings
By Dan McKenzie
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team is in a
good position to win its third Big Ten
title in four years. The Wolverines cur-
rently hold the top spot in the confer-
'Up until its series with Iowa this
weekend, Michigan had a perfect 8-0
conference record. This record included
four wins over last year's conference
games," senior Kelly Kovach said.
"At the end of the year, no one is
really going to ask us who we won or
QUESTIONING TIE CALLS: The first
game of the doubleheader with To-
ledo earlier this week came to a contro-
The game had run into extra in-
nings, but the Wolverines were threat-
ening to score with Kovach on third
and Tracy Carr on second.
Oin the 'ncoiin¢ hit_ it innea.red that
'"Most of the
players on the
team weren't even
aware of the win
streak. I don't
even think that
thav knew what
verine streak at 19 with a 7-6 victory
But the Wolverines did not appear
to be consumed with thoughts about
what could have been.
"Most of the players on the team
weren't even aware of the win streak,"
Tholl said. "I don't think that they
knew what the record was."
Kovach agreed. "I didn't know
until somebody mentioned it," she
said. "Last year, when we lost, it
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